ACDC News – Issue 13-04

Big benefits from a commodity promotion effort

Results of a recent test-market experiment suggest that Tasmanian mushroom producers can benefit considerably through a revised marketing strategy developed by the Australian Mushroom Growers Association. Researchers Julian Alston and Joanna Parks reported that producers could expect a benefit-cost ratio of more than 11:1. This strategy involves using messages based on scientific findings about the nutrition and health benefits of regularly incorporating mushrooms into meals.

You can read their 2012 conference paper and perhaps get some useful ideas at:

How cooperatives can communicate more effectively with members

Needs and ideas emerged from a recent survey among managers of agricultural, farm credit, and utility cooperatives in the central U.S. Reporting at a conference last month, a team of Oklahoma State University researchers identified need for agricultural cooperatives to incorporate more diverse and effective communications strategies.

The answer to effective communications for the respective cooperatives does not require an extensive portfolio of communications, they suggested. What is needed, they said, are tactics that reach multiple audiences (especially including younger members), convey consistent key messages, are timely, and have a sense of quality and usability.

You can read this 2013 conference paper via:

Welcome, Amanda Marolf

We are delighted to welcome Amanda Marolf as a new associate in the Center. A graduate student in the Library and Information Science program, Amanda joined us March 11 on a part-time basis. She plans to help complete the processing of our unique collection of Volume 1 Number 1 issues of agricultural magazines and papers. Veteran agricultural communicator John Harvey contributed nearly 500 of them recently. They date back to the 1870s, so the processing involves considerable preservation effort.

An anthropology graduate from North Central College, Amanda brings to the Center useful skills, including document conservation. Her experience includes an internship at the Field Museum in Chicago, with a special eye on cultural contributions of the Museum. She has done extensive research of the Tuareg people of Niger, as well as the culture of India. Our ACDC collection includes more than 2,300 documents about rural communications in those two countries.

Picture of Amanda Marlof

Thanks for historic documents

Thirty-one historic documents are being processed into the ACDC collection, thanks to the kindness of Eldon Fredericks, emeritus faculty member from Purdue University. Most of them are part of the National Project in Agricultural Communications during the 1950s and early 1960s. These materials include NPAC newsletters, teaching guides and handouts, as well as a book about establishing agricultural universities in India and an Extension review of research about local leadership.

Credit also goes to the late Ralph Reeder, pioneering leader of the Purdue agricultural information staff. He saved these samples of resources used for communications training of Extension staff members throughout Indiana.

NPAC was coordinated by what is now the Association for Communication Excellence (ACE) and funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. It contributed greatly to advancement of professional development, teaching and research in this field throughout the U. S. We are grateful to Professor Fredericks. Please let us know if you have agricultural communications resources for which ACDC might serve as a home.

We are still searching—on your behalf and off the beaten path

Here are a few examples of journals in which we have identified agricultural communications information recently for the ACDC collection. This is such a widely-scattered body of literature. We often are surprised at where we find it. And we hope our efforts save your time and open new doors of understanding for you.

  • Ejournalist
  • Media Psychology
  • Potato Grower
  • Text and Talk
  • Language and Communication
  • Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication
  • Cyberpsychology and Behavior
  • Crime Media Culture
  • Development in Practice
  • European Journal of Communication

Many communicator activities approaching

  • March 14, 2013
    National annual meeting of the British Guild of Agricultural Journalists in London, UK. Information:
  • April 7-9, 2013
    Annual meeting of the North American Agricultural Journalists (NAAJ) in Washington, D.C. Information:
  • May 7-9, 2013
    Annual meeting of the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) in Portland, Oregon. Information:
  • May 19-22, 2013
    “Building capacity through international agricultural and extension education.” Annual conference of the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education in Fort Worth, Texas. Information:
  • June 1-5, 2013
    “Sound ideas: the stage is set.” Annual Institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) in Nashville, Tennessee. Information:
  • June 17-21, 2013
    Conference of the International Communication Association (ICA) in London, UK. Information:
  • July 22-24, 2013
    “Emerging priorities for scientific and agricultural information.” 14th World Congress of the International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists in Ithaca, New York. Information:
  • August 26-28, 2013
    “Transformative change: chosen or unchosen—pathways to innovation, resilience and prosperity.” International conference of the Australasian-Pacific Extension Network (APEN) in Christchurch, New Zealand. Information:
  • September 1-5, 2013
    Annual Congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) in Buenos Aires and Rosario, Argentina. Information:

New angles on rural wisdom

We close this issue of ACDC News with insights from youngsters. Thanks to Steve Shenton for alerting us to internet examples about how some first graders interpreted classic proverbs. Here is what happened when the youngsters were given the first part of several proverbs that have rural or communications themes:

  • Don’t change horses…(until they stop running)
  • You can lead a horse to water, but…(how?)
  • You can’t teach an old dog new…(math)
  • .The pen is mightier than the…(pigs)
  • No news is…(impossible)

Best wishes and good searching.

Please pass along your reactions, suggestions and ideas. Feel free to invite our help as you search for information. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @ACDCUIUC .  And please suggest (or send) agricultural communications documents we might add to this unique collection. We welcome them in hard copy (sent to Ag Comm Documentation Center, room 510, 1101 S. Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801) or in electronic format sent to